West Orange High artist featured in Mennello Museum exhibition
Shannon Song has been painting — and winning competitions — since she was 6 years old. Her latest accomplishment is taking first place in the juried American Youth: “Our Future” art exhibition at the Mennello Museum of Art.
The West Orange High School sophomore entered two pieces, “The Fragile Flower” and “Children of the Wellspring.”
The first entry features a teenage girl sitting in a field of flowers, holding a dandelion on a rainy day, “wishing for basically everything around her to flourish,” Song said.
“Her age is a pretty key aspect, too, because she’s a teenager, and teenagers and children are the future,” she said. “And if they come to the realization that the future doesn’t have to be technology based, then maybe everyone else will.”
After learning about the dying Kayapo tribe, which lives in the Brazilian rainforest, Song was compelled to paint an image of a determined child amidst the destruction around him. This is her second piece in the exhibition.
“The Fragile Flower” is painted in oils; and “Children of the Wellspring” is presented in mixed media, a combination of collage, acrylic paint, charcoal and chalk pastels.
Both paintings, created this summer over the course of a few months, will be on display there through Oct. 7. The museum is at 900 E. Princeton St., Orlando.
A LIFETIME OF ART
Song has been displaying her artistic side since she was a toddler sitting in her high chair making creations with Play-Doh. She started professional art classes when she was 6.
Currently, she is studying under P.J. Svejda at The Art Room in Windermere. Svejda considers Song to be her apprentice.
“She has always been extremely talented, but what I am most proud of in her recent years is her willingness to push herself and try new things,” Svejda said. “It is difficult — especially for younger people when they succeeded in one area — to stray away from that and try new things.
“It has been a struggle for Shannon, as well; however, she has gotten more comfortable with experimenting and problem-solving when things don’t go exactly as planned,” Svejda said. “She pays close attention to detail and always has a clear vision in her head that she wants to execute.”
When Song paints at home, she spreads out her materials on the family’s dining room table.
The young artist’s goal is to pursue a career in fine arts.
“I’ve kind of always wanted to do that,” she said. “I don’t know what kind of field I’m going to go into, but I for sure want to go into (art) — painting, drawing, just creating overall.”
She has experimented with different mediums but says oil paints are her favorite.
“You don’t need to worry about it drying too quickly,” she said. “You can blend it out or make it choppy, lay it on thickly. I like it a lot.”
Occasionally, she combines several mediums in one painting, regardless of what others might say about them clashing or not working well together.
“Sometimes you have to do the unexpected, and it will turn out well,” Song said. “Experimenting with color combinations and compositions — it’s a form of emotional release.”
Topics vary in Song’s artwork.
“I do like to paint or draw things that people might not think are conventionally beautiful,” she said. “This subject, when translated into a work of art, can be seen as beautiful. … I feel like it’s more creative than just painting a landscape or flowers.”
While she’s at West Orange High, Song wants to take as many different art classes as possible, such as photography and ceramics, so she can show some diversity on her résumé when applying to college in a few years.
The Winter Garden Art Association’s SoBo Gallery has displayed three of Song’s paintings. She mainly paints for the joy of it, but if she has an option to sell a piece, she will.
She takes commissions, too, and will negotiate a price for those pieces. Anyone interested in having Song paint for them can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is the daughter of Carla and Brian Song, of Winter Garden.
“I firmly believe that Shannon is a storyteller with an artistic soul, and I am so excited to watch her growth,” Svejda said.